England’s Glen Johnson has warned his team-mates not to underestimate the skill of Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko despite his ageing legs.
Johnson was still at Stamford Bridge himself when the Ukrainian legend arrived from AC Milan for just over 30 million pounds in May 2006.
However, the move did not go to plan as he only hit the back of the net nine times in 48 Premier League matches over three seasons (and 22 times in 77 appearances for the Blues in all competitions).
But now it is a different story altogether. After being loaned back to Milan for the 2008/09 season, he left Stamford Bridge and rejoined Dynamo Kiev in 2009. The 35-year-old has rediscovered his form and defied his critics to score both goals in his country’s Euro 2012 win over Sweden.
England and Ukraine go head-to-head in Group D on Tuesday knowing that whoever wins is guaranteed a place in the next round of the competition.
“Sheva’s a fantastic guy. He didn’t have the best part of his career when he was at Chelsea, but you don’t lose your quality overnight,” Johnson told The Sunday Mail.
“He’s still one of the best strikers around. I rate him very highly. He was very genuine, although I don’t think he was too confident with his English – but he tried to join in with everything.
“Every player at the European Championship wants to be at his highest level, so I am sure he’ll be up for it against us.
“Everyone has ups and downs during their career but, arguably, Sheva’s one of the best strikers around.
“We’ve been focusing on France and Sweden, but now we’ll look at the Ukraine and in Shevchenko they’ve got a national hero and a fantastic player.”
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